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Utah State basketball: Against Fresno, Aggies look to start new streak

Published: Friday, Feb. 11 2011 9:58 p.m. MST

LOGAN — Basketball fans here are quickly finding out all good things come to an end.

For the Utah State Aggies, the end of their 17-game winning streak, and 25 straight conference victories, came crashing down late in the night in Moscow on Wednesday. Now all that is left for the Aggies is to try and start a new streak, beginning with a home game against Fresno State.

"When you've been on a long streak it's a shock to the system to taste losing," head coach Stew Morrill said. "It's never any fun."

The loss will likely cost the Aggies their top 25 ranking and a good deal of the national exposure the team had been receiving, but Utah State is not hitting the panic switch yet.

"Making open shots is the best thing we can do," Morrill said when asked what his team needed to do to bounce back. "We don't need to overhaul anything we do."

A game against Fresno State might not help matters. In their earlier matchup this season the Aggies needed a 16-rebound performance from Nate Bendall to win 52-39 in an otherwise ugly contest.

"Our last game with them was not a masterpiece," Morrill said.

Recent history with Fresno State is a positive for the Aggies. Utah State has won the last eight games in the series, with the Bulldogs' last victory coming in March 2007. That game was also the last time Utah State lost a conference game on its home floor, a streak of 30 straight games.

Morrill believes that both Brockeith Pane and Pooh Williams should be fine going into tonight's matchup after both were limping at the end of the Idaho game.

"They looked good in film session yesterday," Morrill said. "I'll know more after they practice today, but they both should be fine."

Like most basketball fans in the state, Morrill was taken aback by the news of Jerry Sloan's resignation. "He was a man's man and a coaches' coach," Morrill said. "He reminds me of the Sinatra song 'My Way.' He will be desperately missed. I'm very happy for him and sad for the rest of us."

Morrill also expects to see more of former Sloan assistant Phil Johnson, a Utah State graduate. "(Johnson) always said when he was done I'd see a lot more of him up here," Morrill added. "I sure hope that is the case."

Johnson lettered in both basketball and track while attending Utah State and got his coaching start as a graduate assistant under Ladell Andersen. In 1997 Johnson was named Utah State alumnus of the year. Johnson also has a locker named after him in the recently refurbished men's basketball locker room.

Aggies on the air

No. 21 Utah State (22-3, 11-1 WAC) vs. Fresno State (11-13, 5-7)

Today, 7 p.m.

Smith Spectrum

TV: CW30

Radio: 610 AM, 95.9 FM, 1320 AM

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